When I started PostSecret, it felt like a creative prank — but asking strangers to share their deepest secrets with me on postcards would illuminate a hidden world we all share and create a community of courage and compassion.
I hate working as a janitor for arrogant rich people so I clean their computer keyboards with the toilet brush.
I know my neighbor is a peeping tom… So I occasionally give him a free show.
everytime I work up the nerve to swallow the pills someone does something to make me want to live and i’ve never said thank you for saving my life. people have no idea how far kindness can go. i’m LIVING proof.
These secrets mailed to me on artful postcards show how the project quickly became something more than the lark it started as. I began to draw upon my past volunteer work on the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and started sharing the secrets and inspiring stories in books and at speaking events to audiences across the US and around the world.
Because most of the secrets are mailed from young people, I feel a special connection to those audiences. The secrets also reminded me of my own feelings of loneliness and lack of direction that I felt when I was in high school and college.
One of the highlights of my speaking career was being invited to deliver the keynote address at the Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference this past November. It was so gratifying to see so many enthusiastic students taking ownership of the issues that my generation kept secret in destructive ways. It made me wish that Active Minds had been around when I was younger.
I believe it could have not only helped me through some of my own struggles as a young person, but also created an opportunity for me to help some of my classmates and make a real difference in how mental illness is understood culturally and how national policy addresses it.
When an Active Minds chapter puts in the work to bring a PostSecret Live! Event to their campus, it is exciting for me because often they create awareness for the event in advance with a campus-wide PostSecret U program.
At PostSecret Live! Events, I look forward to meeting all the club members and usually a club officer will introduce me and is able to tell the audience about upcoming Active Minds activities.
After that, I start the multimedia celebration of secrets that may end with audience members sharing their own. Those courageous confessions from classmates can be emotional, cathartic and generate campus discussions afterward.
These student secrets shared live for the first time are always unpredictable but uncover at least two truths:
No one is alone with their secret and…
Trust Your Story.